FLYNT TOUCHES OFF PROGRESSIVE RANGE WAR
Larry Flynt's support this week for the national action group Not In Our Name's demand of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg drew a screeching rebuke from hard-line men-haters in the group. One member of NION, radio show host Aura Bogado, launched into hysterics in an email denouncing Flynt's support and distancing herself from the activist group.
Bogado's hate-addled, racist rant against Anglo heterosexual males touched off dueling emails between Hustler magazine editors (and lifelong liberals) and KPFK station personnel, including Bogado. The broadsides were fired in front of a growing audience of hundreds of influential progressives across the country-thanks to email trees and blogs.
What follows are the actual emails as they came online:
ALERT OF FLYNT'S SUPPORT FOR NION ALERT!!! ALERT!!!
Larryflynt.com has just posted the NION call for a massive, public media campaign to pressure Mayor Bloomberg to grant permits for Central Park demonstrations!!! Check it out! (just dont look at the pictures) www.larryflynt.com
KPFK's AURA BOGADO'S INITIAL RESPONSE
(Written directly to NION LA e-mail address only)
I am outraged that NION LA would use an endorsement from a misogynist like Larry Flynt to garner attention to what may very well be one of the biggest demonstrations in recent history. I will be in New York because as a woman of color, I want to stand against oppression and domination in all its forms. Sexism and racism are a flagrant part of Flynt's capitalist exploitation. I visited larryflynt.com and linked to an interesting article titled, "The Rape Shield Law: It's Just Wrong". In it, Flynt essentializes feminists as "anti-men", and says that Rape Shield laws create an "uneven playing field" for rape victims. It's very easy to kill Iraqis when we de-humanize them. By de-humanizing women through pornography it's similarly easy to rape them and say laws are created that give these women and unfair advantage.
For these reasons and more, remove me from NION LA's list, and take a minute to consider who "Our" stands for "Not In Our Name". To me, "our" stands for the People, not the Pigs like Flynt. I want to create alliances, but not when they threaten the core of my liberation.
KPFK 90.7 FM, Los Angeles
NION LA's ROBERT CORSINI REPLIES
(response sent to Aura, KPFK Producer's Alan Minsky and Christine Blosdale, NION National Organizers -- Tanya Mayo and Jamie Lee, plus one person in error who had nothing to do with these events).
I understand your outrage but this decision was a complex one. I am no defender of pornography but I do believe that Flynt's history has a great deal of commitment to many, many progressive ideals. Ironically, I have reached out to Pacifica for the past two weeks about the Bloomberg letter campaign and have yet to get a response from anyone-- until now. The idea with Flynt is basically that we need to build bridges with segments of the population that wouldn't normally be exposed to the kind of information that is ultimately transformative like the kind of great work you have committed your life to and much of what do as well. Preaching to the converted isn't enough to make this into a movement.
I must also ask you the basic question Aura -- if you were in a position of political power and could legislate social policy -- would you shut down Mr. Flynt? What would you do with the
Adult Entertainment industry? Order its destruction? Would that be any different than prohibition? I have had several long conversations with Bruce David, Flynt's publisher. He is a compelling individual who has a deep commitment to progressive politics and is committed to getting Bush and the neo-cons out of office. Let's not forget how Flynt set-up the Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Haestert...
Aura, since 9/11, I myself have had so many ideological precepts challenged and reinforced at the same time. Seeing National Rifle Association Republicans turning into Kerry supporters -- while people who I once thought were progressive are now embracing the fear politics of the Bush Administration. Amazing reversals. For me it's a time to open and really listen to a broad range of perspectives, re-think everything. There is always the good with the bad. I must also tell you that this just wasn't a unilateral NION LA decision. Although contacting LFP was my idea originally, it was discussed on the National Steering Committee level months ago. Also, please keep in mind that we linked to Flynt's political website only. We have been looking in many directions to build bridges between progressive thinking and in this case there was an opening. Frankly if LFP can deliver 1,000 letters to Bloomberg, it's worth it. I don't have to love Larry Flynt, or embrace his inflammatory and misogynistic sexual politics. It's about gaining access to media channels for the progressive messages were are all committed to. I would be happy to discuss this further if you'd like, but you pushing the Bloomberg letter campaign described below would be a better use of our time.
And finally, after all the months and months of thankless, unpaid work that has gone into building for the RNC that myself and many others have engaged in, you are ready to disconnect from the work we've been doing -- over LarryFlynt.COM's support for our letter writing campaign? Who's being reactionary now? Did you ever stop to think that perhaps Larry Flynt is precisely the right guy to fund a rape crisis center? Or perhaps he already has and you just don't know about it? I'll see you in NY.
NION LA Organizer
BOGADO UNLOADS A DOUBLE BARREL. EXPANDS E-MAIL DISTRIBUTION TO INCLUDE ALL NION NATIONAL LIST SERVES AND DOZENS OF OTHER PROGRESSIVES NATIONWIDE.
Dear Robert et al,
First, I am dismayed that you have decided to send your response, along with my original one, to people that I know (hello to Elizabeth, Alan and Christine), and to many more that I do not. If I wanted my opinions about Larry Flynt to be read by Flynt's publisher, Bruce David, I would have sent them to him myself. I felt this could be a dialogue between NION organizers and myself. I am very troubled that you violated that. Since you feel the need to air it out with friends, colleagues and strangers, I, too have added people to this list.
Second, you have reached out to Pacifica and I, for one, have responded by getting NION on air. Besides producing locally for KPFK, I also anchor Pacifica's national newscast, Free Speech Radio News. On August 18, 2004, we ran a story about the state of repression ahead of the RNC in New York City. Our correspondent from WBAI, Leigh Ann Caldwell, filed an excellent story that you can hear on . Her story did not focus solely on the letter campaign, since legally and editorially, we cannot advocate calls for actions. Instead, we looked at the way in which different groups, including NION, are dealing with the situation. Leigh Ann interviewed NION's Tanya Mayo for the piece, and you can hear Tanya's voice in the story. I wake up every morning at 5:20 am to look at the news of the day, and make editorial calls by 6:15 am. I, along with our editorial team that consists of four people working across the country, decided to commissioned the piece because it is vital to our community. Free Speech Radio News plays on KPFK, as well as over 60 stations nationwide, including KPFA in the Bay, WBAI in New York, KPFT in
Houston and WPFW in Washington, DC. My titles include producer and anchor, not mother: I can get stories on radio, but it's up to you if you listen.
Third, I would like to respond to your "basic question[s]". I would never be in a position of political power to legislate social policy, since I believe those systems of power serve to corrupt and damage otherwise positive human experiences. According to your email, you assume that I would potentially destroy "the Adult Entertainment Industry". Quite the opposite. I enjoy and advocate erotica and consider myself a sex-positive woman. However, I do have a problem with misogyny and child pornography. Judith Reisman documents a disturbing pattern of the latter in this article: ARTICLE_ID=16049>. Just as prohibition did not change people's want for alcohol, neither would legislation against pornography; it would go underground. Voting and laws do not change society, social movements do. Movements for supposed liberation that are informed by misogyny will fail by definition.
Like you, I, too have had my ideas challenged after 9/11. As bell hooks says, racism, sexism and homophobia were popularly justified after 9/11. Suddenly, all the information we thought we had learned about how to create a just world flew out the window. Post 9/11, it was alright to worry and be exclusionary about immigrants and people of color. It was alright to worry about women's oppression in Afghanistan without looking at our own. It was alright to be a white male, along with all the sexist and racist privileges that entails. I view the left's current fascination of Flynt as result of 9/11: the loss of what's important and the shifting value in would-be allies. Why should NION align themselves with working-class women of color when they can, instead, be co-opted by one rich, white male's fantasy world? When you build bridges with those who oppress, you simultaneously burn bridges with Others.
Next, I'm sorry that you feel the work you do is thankless and unpaid. Maybe there are reasons un-apparent to me as to why you are involved in the work that you do. When you say that I am "ready to disconnect", and suggest that I am reactionary, I can guarantee you that you could not be further from the truth. Similarly, I can also guarantee that you do not understand my outrage, as you claim to at the start of your email, the rest of your email is evidence of that. Unlike Flynt who may need to fund a rape crisis center in an attempt to appear to be the good person, I certainly do not need to prove my commitment to you or anyone else, so I'll save us all the examples. However, I am bothered that you feel entitled to question it.
Finally, you say that you "would be happy to discuss this further", then quickly suggest the Bloomberg letter campaign would be a better use of 'our' time. No, thank you! It's not a campaign I plan on forwarding to friends or airing anything about anytime soon. The next time I need direction from you as to how to allocate my most valuable resource (time), I'll let you know.
KPFK's THATCHER COLLINS DOES HIS BEST JONATHAN SWIFT SATIRE, TAKING CORSINI'S INITIAL RESPONSE TO BOGADO AND REPLACING KEY NOUNS WITH ALLUSIONS TO COLUMBUS, GENOCIDE AND THE SLAUGHTER OF NATIVE AMERICANS AND SENDS IT TO CORSINI AND OTHERS.
I understand your outrage but this decision was a complex one. I am no defender of colonialism but I do believe that Columbus' history has a great deal of commitment to many, many progressive ideals. Ironically, I have reached out across the Pacific for the past two years about the Christian conversion campaign and have yet to get a response from anyone - until now. The idea with Columbus is basically that we need to build bridges with segments of the population that wouldn't normally be exposed to the kind of information that is ultimately transformative like the kind of great work you have committed your life to and much of what I do as well. Preaching to the converted isn't enough to make this into a movement. I must also ask you the basic question Aurelita - if you were in a position of political power and could dictate social policy - would you keel haul Mister Columbus? What would you do with the Adult Enslavement Industry? I have had several long conversations with Reino Fernando II de Aragón, Columbus's benefactor. He is a compelling individual who has a deep commitment to progressive politics and is committed to getting Edward VI and his neo-protestants out of the British Monarchy. Let's not forget how Columbus set-up the silver mines of Española for the Chinese monetorization.
Aura, since 1492, I myself have had so many ideological precepts challenged and reinforced at the same time. Seeing the Troubadours turning into Fernando supporters -- while Jesuits who I once thought were progressive are now embracing the fear politics of the Moors. Amazing reversals. For me it's a time to open and really listen to a broad range of perspectives, re-think everything. There are always the good blankets with the bad blankets. I must also tell you that this wasn't a unilateral Kingdom of Spain decision. Although contacting América was my idea originally, it was discussed at the court level years ago. Also, please keep in mind that we only sponsored Columbus' ships. Frankly if Señor Cristóbal Colón can deliver 1,000 Christians to Jesus, it's worth it. I don't have to love Christopher Columbus, or embrace his inflammatory and colonial politics. It's about gaining access to land for the progressive messages we are all committed to. I would be happy to discuss this further if you'd like, but you pushing the Christian conversation campaign would be a better use of our time. And finally, after all the months and months of thankless, unpaid work that has gone into training Rocinante for the voyage, one that myself and many others have engaged in, you are ready to disconnect from the work we've been doing - over Christopher Columbus's support for our Christian conversion campaign? Who's being reactionary now? Did you ever stop to think that perhaps Christopher Columbus is precisely the right guy to fund an indigenous rights center? Or perhaps he already has and you just don't know about it? I'll see you in Cuzco.
Don Quixote de la Mancha
Reino de España
CORSINI REPLIES TO COLLINS FROM HIS PERSONAL E-MAIL ADDRESS.
Dear Mr. Collins:
I appreciate your humorous twist to this story. However, there are a couple problems here. One is that you are attempting to demean someone who has been working tremendously hard to get access to mainstream media for the messages of resistance that both yourself and many others at Pacifica represent so vehemently. I cannot imagine any of your predecessors like John Beaupre, Marcos Frommer or Kathy Gori jumping into such hypocritical journalistic quagmire. I suppose that you prefer keeping progressive messages limited to you insular audience rather than attempting to broaden its base. Another problem is that you in your capacity as a 'progressive' journalist enter into a very murky area when you cross such a line and mount an attack against someone, humorous as it may be, who has dedicated nearly two years to the NION project. Simply from a journalistic point of view it would make more sense to examine why the 'progressive' message has such a hard time getting out. Clearly I am seeing part of the problem coming directly from a place that I thought stood for open debate, freedom of speech and so forth and so on. What this demonstrates to me is that you believe in the right to free speech as long as it follows your extremely narrow criteria. Why don't you blast out at Greg Palast and other 'progressive' journalists who have associated their works with the 'Columbus' of our modern times -- Mr. Flynt? Or how dare Michael Moore, another conspiratorial contemporary conquistador, allow Flynt to talk about 'Farenheit 911' on his website? But I have to admit, very funny. You should be proud. I have to say that at least you had the professional common sense to write to NION LA under your personal e-mail rather than flaunting your KPFK position. But really, the joke's on you.
THATCHER THINKS HE'S FUNNY
It's funny to me, but shouldn't be funny to you, like how Swift's plan for eating irish babies wasfunny to the Irish and not the British. BTW, the technical term is parody, not a twist. Your tone, rhetoric, and logic remained completely unadulturated.
BRUCE DAVID TO THATCHER COLLINS: YOU'RE NO JONATHAN SWIFT
No...It's just not funny. It's boring. Strained. Pretentious. And off point, which is normal for you. I listen to you on KPFK on my way to work, cursing the whole time you are on. You advise Michael Moore on how to write his book. You advise him on how to make his movie. Then you condemn him while pretending not to. If I had your support I'd be worried. As it is, I'm at least sure I'm on the side of people who can think and reason and discuss the issues in a logical,
open manner. You can side with those who, like Ashcroft, know all the answers and thus knowing, have no reason for thoughtful debate. BTW, I've read Jonathan Swift. You are no Jonathan Swift.
HUSTLER'S MARK CROMER RETURNS FIRE
I received a copy of the e-mail exchange between you and KPFK's Aura Bogado and want to take this opportunity to encourage you to keep your head and spirits up, as you have no reason to apologize or second-guess yourself over enlisting Larry Flynt's support of Not In Our Name.
As a liberal (remember those?) who is a veteran of the Politically Correct censorship wars that swept university campuses during the 1980s, I am well acquainted with Bogado's ilk and the philosophy that fuels their agenda. Taking positions at the free speech barricades once manned (yes, the dreaded word 'manned') by Mario Savio, Abbie Hoffman, Ken Keasey, Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary (mentioning five Anglo males has Bogado probably already dialing the Rape Crisis Center), I watched Stalinists like Bogado mask themselves as 'progressives' as they led
the charge against any deviation from their boiler-plate ideology.
Make no mistake about it, Bob, Aura Bogado is a hater. You can smell it in her first reply to you. Like flatulence in a crowded elevator the fetid reek of Bogado's sexist, racist hatred of heterosexual Anglo males should curl the nose hair of any reasonable person.Her rhetoric about the 'People' verses the 'Pigs' (like Flynt, apparently) is standard issue for Bogado's crowd, and I am sure she repeats the mantra in the mirror every morning as she adjusts her beret and army jacket, before blowing a kiss to the framed picture of Donald 'Cinque' DeFreeze she undoubtedly has on the wall.
Bogado is clear that absolutely no questioning-however reasoned-will be tolerated of sacred cow legislation, such as the so-called 'rape shield laws,' which Flynt did in a recent issue of Hustler. Larry's crime, it seems, was to suggest there are serious flaws in such laws and their application. Adequate due process for accused men is of little consequence to Bogado.
She then makes the claim that Flynt preps American males (especially those genetically criminal Anglo, heterosexual males) for RAPE! by publishing explicit images of consenting adults engaged in sex.
Yet it's clear that like her soul mate Andrea Dworkin, Bogado would find virtually any depiction of explicit heterosexual sex akin to rape, just as her ilk frequently compare an erect penis to a knife-a weapon wielded for violence. She then claims belatedly that she "advocates erotica" and proclaims herself "sex positive," while maintaining that she doesn't support direct government intervention against the adult entertainment industry.Just as Ralph Reed and his cadre in the Christian Coalition have perfected the art of stealth zealotry, so too has Bogado learned to mask her true agenda.
The devil can be found in her details.
When Hustler recently interviewed Bogado's compatriot Prof. Robert Jensen, he too went to great lengths to disavow government censorship. Yet parsing his carefully crafted comments, it was revealed that he opposes government censorship largely because it doesn't work. Bogado makes the same statement, noting 'porn' would go underground if attacked-hardly a ringing endorsement of free speech. Jensen supports new legislation, in fact, that would codify a causality (never clinically established) between depictions of explicit sex (heterosexual sex only, of course) and RAPE!, legislation that would allow alleged victims to sue manufacturers of porn for damages. Jensen, Dworkin and (I am sure) Bogado want to subject movie-makers and magazine publishers and Internet content providers to the same death-by-litigation tactic that has been used against Big Tobacco and gun manufacturers.
The most revealing moment with Jensen-as I am sure it would be with Bogado-came when we at Hustler asked him to clearly describe and define the "egalitarian erotica" he allegedly endorsed. He couldn't. He stuttered and stammered and dodged, but when called to identify a single specific visual act that would represent what he would find acceptable, Jensen blanked.
Justice Potter Stewart famously stated he knew obscenity when he saw it. Bogado, Jensen and their brigades essentially claim the reverse; it's all sick, prurient, misogynistic obscenity UNTIL they see some elusive example of egalitarian porn. Ask them what material would actually qualify as acceptable and they flatline.
Bogado has learned to avoid such exposure when possible, so she stays on message by regurgitating the same meaningless catch-phrases and buzz words over and over again: 'women of color' raped/oppressed/enslaved/violated/shackled/tortured etc. by "white male fantasies" as featured in TechniColor on pages of magazines like Hustler.My favorite line in her second broadside to you was her noting that after Sept. 11th, she was alarmed that it "was alright to be a white male…"
Well, as they used to say where I grew up: Boom, there it is!
Like you Robert, I used to try to understand racists like Bogado, perhaps because as a young Leftist I felt compelled to believe they were sincere and inherently decent people. Ahhhh, the good old days. Back when many of us on the Left didn't mind having Conservative friends (remember?).
I have long since learned that our side has a cancer on it as well, toxic little tumors like Bogado who (like the haters on the Right) have managed to find a bullhorn and microphone to spread their vile malignancy.
So I now speak out against racist haters like Bogado as she is ultimately a far more dangerous threat to a multi-ethnic, unified, free and democratic society than anything the Religious Right has spewed forth.
She is a rabid wolf in progressive clothing.
NION L.A.'S JAMIE LEE REQUESTS REMOVAL OF POSTINGS
You do not have my permission to post or publish the e-mail I just sent to you nor do you have the permission of Los Angeles Not In Our Name to print, publish or post on any site any of the e-mails that you have received with regard to this issue. Please immediately remove all e-mails that you received from and through LA NION from the larryflynt.com website.
Jamie Lee, organizer, L.A. Not In Our Name
MARK CROMER SAYS 'NO DICE'
To the contrary, we have every right to engage in this debate and to do so as others have, via new media postings. Not only are we personally subjects of this debate, but Aura Bogado has made this anything but a 'private' discussion. To that end, we intend to continue posting these emails and viewpoints on our associated websites and you can be sure we will be covering this debate in upcoming issues of Hustler magazine.It appears you are uncomfortable with public scrutiny. Given your stated positions, that's understandable.
KPFK SENIOR PRODUCER ALAN MINSKY JOINS THE FRAY
Robert et al,
Alan Minsky here, KPFK Senior Producer, Indymedia's organizer. I've taken my time to chime in on this because I've been swamped preparing for NYC -- and I also wanted to take the time try to sort out my thinking on this matter.
I am not too familiar with Hustler or Larry Flynt's career (I've seen the film, recall his intervention in the Clinton-era scandals/idiocies, have a sense of what style of pornography can be found in the magazine, and I read the Sherman Austin article).
But I am aware enough to know that if NION practiced the type of consensus decision making process that is practiced by Indymedia and other groups from the Global Justice Movement / Zapatista-inspired mold, I would expect that any affiliation with Hustler would not successfully pass through the process. In other words, I do believe that Aura's argument would hold sway in a democratic, highly respectful process (in which both (all) sides would get a fair chance to express their position) amongst rank-and-file NION members. In fact, I doubt the outcome of such a process would even be close.
And, I do not believe for one second that the Global Justice movement is filled with Stalinists, or people blinded by politically-correct orthodoxy. Instead, I think the very committed rank-and-file activist community is still populated by well-thought-out, conscientious people who seek a better society than the fucked-up, imbalanced, unjust one we presently abide in. I doubt many people in that movement want to see Hustler outlawed (I certainly would not support that -- I'm for free speech all the way). But I firmly believe that resistance to any overt endorsement or affiliation w/ Hustler would hold sway amongst such activists because the relationship between patriarchy, popular pornography, and economic exploitation remains transparently obvious to this large body of politically conscious everyday folk (just as pro-feminist, non-dollar-driven erotica would be embraced).
If I were present at such a meeting, I would certainly support an effort to block an affiliation with Hustler.
I believe that in the 1990s and into this decade there has been a great "normalization" (i.e. wide-spread acceptance) of pornography and the sex-industry, with Howard Stern and HBO both virtually promoting woman strippers and lap-dancers as veritable role models for young women. Of course, people will make the decisions they make and it's up to them. But the explosion of these industries the past decade and a half strikes me as thoroughly related to the tougher, more brutal economy facing the middle and working classes.
And, to my mind, damned if there isn't also a correlation between the wider-acceptance of these industries and a parallel de-emphasizing of education (the development of young people's minds) in this society. In contrast to the ethics of feminism, this overt social trend is sending the message to young women that their primary their value lies in their body's appeal to men (and their money) and not in the development of their minds. (And, old school, anti-Stalinist that I am, I do believe that widespead feminist pedegogy would facilitate the development of a post-patriarchal sexuality (which, to me, as a straight, hopefully intelligent and sentient, man, would, be a million times more sexy and attractive than a society made-up of the lost, vacant souls that I see when I encounter popular pornography).
To reiterate my main point, I earnestly believe that the millions of rank-and-file folks in the Peace and Global Justice movements share similar, common sense (old-school, non-totalitarian, anti-censorship, liberatory) positions as those expressed in the previous two paragraphs and, as such, would not embrace endorsing Hustler in the way that NION did recently.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it.
HUSTLER ISSUES CHALLENGE TO KPFK
Revealing both their true agenda of censorship as well as a hatred of heterosexual Anglo males that motivates much of their philosophy, the Fifth Column of Stalinists posing as Progressives at Pacifica's KPFK radio in Los Angeles have again misled their listeners and outright lied about Hustler magazine and us, two of its editors.
During an email exchange that started on August 25th which pitted us against KPFK's Aura Bogado and Jamie Lee over a proposed alliance between Not In Our Name (NION) and Hustler, we confronted Bogado in mass emails for making what we consider to be clear and undeniable racist and sexist attacks as well as employing ugly smears in an effort to exclude us from supporting NION.
On September 1st, KPFK host Sonali Kolhatkar dedicated her show to the issue of pornography and took the opportunity to again defend Bogado's racist, sexist attack on Flynt, Hustler and heterosexual Anglo males. Since Kolhatkar refuses to deal with this debate truthfully, let's again establish a few facts:
A) NION first approached Hustler and asked for support of their efforts in NYC. We repeat: NION FIRST APPROACHED HUSTLER and asked for support.
B) Hustler agreed to support a fellow progressive cause and posted the requested information on LarryFlynt.com.
C) Aura Bogado launched into a high-octane tirade at the news of Hustler's support, called Flynt a "Pig," essentially accused him of supporting rape and casually intimated a link bewteen Hustler and child pornography. In an ensuing mass email Bogado then decried that "it's alright to be a white male" after Sept. 11th (as apparently it was not all right to be white, male and heterosexual before the terror attacks?)
D) After reading through a couple of her emails that were laced with anti-Anglo, anti-male heterosexual screeds, we responded forcefully, confronting the venom that Bogado apparently believes she is entitled to spew because she is a self-declared "oppressed woman of color." (Does that make us "privileged non-gay males not-of-color?")
Look, had Bogado simply fired off an email stating she doesn't believe in what Hustler does or that she believes an alliance with a pornographer is wrong, we would have no problem with that-though we would wholeheartedly disagree.
But Bogado attacked us in a very racist, sexist manner and smeared us to boot.
Why is Larry a "Pig?" Because he publishes explicit depictions of consenting adults having sex that some people object to? How is it NOT ok to be a white, heterosexual male? How is publishing, editing or reading Hustler synonymous with rape and child pornography?
Since she made these statements, we call upon Bogado to elaborate on them. As she dismissively noted to Robert Corsini that she was "bothered that he felt entitled" to question her, it seems clear to us that Bogado is as arrogant as George W.-she doesn't feel she has to explain herself or her positions.
This was borne out when we confronted Bogado in mass emails of our own, as she did what extremists often do-she hid. Her supporters, specifically Jamie Lee and Alan Minsky of KPFK, didn't bother directly addressing the inherent racism and sexism in Bogado's tirade, but instead Lee took the lead in asserting that our daring to question Bogado's ideology and motives was "misogynistic" and "very dangerous." Minsky just shuffled around making excuses for Bogado.
We suppose our comments were very dangerous-to the extent that people who spread racist hate never like to be challenged and become frightened when confronted.
Kolhatkar's show on Sept. 1st stooped to a new low by picking up the nonsense started by Jamie Lee and carrying that ball further, calling our emails confronting Bogado "abuse" and claiming we had "threatened" her. While we have never threatened anyone, one of Kolhatkar's guests on Sept. 1st was the infamous Diana Russell, the Mills College 'professor' who as repeatedly come within a hair's-breadth of publicly calling for the murder of Flynt. "How I wish that Flynt's would-be murderer had been a better shot!" Russell told the San Francisco Chronicle on March 11th of this year. "I hate and despise this man…"
As Larry is a heterosexual, Anglo male, this vitriol apparently is sanctioned by Kolhatkar, Bogado, Lee and, sadly, Minsky (who doesn't seem able or willing to raise his voice against such blatant advocates for violent sexist racism).
But to state, as Kolhatkar and Lee have that we "threatened" Bogado is simply an outright lie.
And it's a lie that was spoken to the listeners of KPFK without the benefit of a rebuttal. In fact, Kolhatkar had every opportunity to call us before the show and give us the chance to defend ourselves, but she chose not to-and this is progressive?
Accordingly, we challenge Aura Bogado, Sonali Kolhatkar and Jamie Lee to meet us in debate. We will open up five (5) pages in Hustler to feature the debate in print (edited only for space) and it must be broadcast on KPFK unedited, as well as streamed on both KPFK and LarryFlynt.com websites.
While the cadre of Stalinists who have wormed their way into KPFK may hope that we will fall silent in the face of their hate-based lies, to the contrary we intend to employ every asset at our disposal to continue to challenge them and their agenda, all the while building bridges with those in the true Progressive community who understand that alliances aren't ideologically pure marriages that demand total fidelity to a single cause, but rather working relationships for a goal of the common good. We haven't and won't back out of a movement we believe in or turn away from friends just because Aura Bogado may also be a member. At the same time, we'll be damned if we let her own racist, sexist attacks keep us silent or force us out of the cause.
Bruce David & Mark Cromer
NOT IN OUR NAME L.A. ORGANIZER, JAMIE LEE
I wanted to respond to the flurry of e-mails that have generated over the NION LA announcement that Larry Flynt supports the campaign to obtain a permit for Central Park and the call for 1 million people to NYC for the RNC to say no to bush & all he represents.
I believe that some of the e-mails generated off of Aura Bogada's initial e-mail have taken a very ugly turn and is quite divisive for the kind of resistance movement that is needed to stop the course our government is taking and beyond that. The personal and unprincipled attacks which have been aimed at Aura in particular are unacceptable. The Not In Our Name Project absolutely condemns the disgusting, misogynistic attack on Aura by Mark Cromer of Hustler. We will not participate in and will actively oppose any further attacks on Aura if any appear in the pages of Hustler. We sincerely and deeply apologize for any role anyone in NION played in opening Aura up to these attacks by forwarding her private email response. After this e-mail, we will not be responding or sending out e-mails through LA NION with all the cc's on this subject. Aura's criticism of forwarding her private e-mail to LA NION is absolutely correct and it was inappropriate to forward any response to and from Aura to others without her permission.
Aura has played a very important role in promoting and supporting the Not In Our Name project through her work and efforts at KPFK and Free Speech Radio News and it is very much appreciated and continues to be needed so. I hope that we will be able to discuss and debate the issues raised in her initial e-mail with her and to continue to find the ways to work together to change the direction Bush & Co. are hell bent on taking the planet!
It is in that spirit that I want to address the question posed by Aura - which is very legitimate and important question and concern (for many of us! that's why I am writing this to everyone pulled into this discussion).
Who is the `our' in Not In Our Name? Who does it need to be to stop this endless war and repression? Who can and needs to be united with to do just that? To answer this, I want to go back to what NION is about (and isn't), why it was initiated and the fact that it has been able to connect and give so much heart and courage to so many is a testament to the void that it is filling. This seems to be has gotten lost or shoved aside especially in latter e-mails generated off of Aura's first email.
In the wake of 9/11 and the response from Bush & Co., many of us could see the course our government was taking things, it was ominous, dangerous and deadly. But the challenge was how to bring together all those who were not "with Bush" and how to contribute to building a resistance movement that would have a flag - the globe - to rally around and to gather others, that could inspire and give courage to many who felt alone and isolated because they were `with the people of the world' as well as others beginning to question the direction this country was being taken and to stand with those under attack in the name of the so-called `war on terrorism' - be it the people of Afghanistan, Iraq or people living in the U.S. and this list grows daily - to stop the Bush & Co.! To accomplish this will take millions, tens of millions of people in this country. Those who have come together in this resistance movement are quite diverse - in our politics and beliefs, languages, cultures - but we have something greater in common. The "our" in Not In Our Name is for everyone "living in the United States who believes that it is our responsibility to resist the injustices done by our government, in our names." (from the NION Pledge of Resistance). " When President Bush declared: 'you're either with us or against us.' Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety. We say NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed." (from the NION Statement of Conscience).
As the anti-war movement in this country grew in the wake of 9/11, the US war against Afghanistan, Arabs, Muslims, South Asians, Iraq and growing attacks on civil liberties -we saw an amazing diversity of people on the same side - opposing the injustices being done by our government in our name - to speak with one voice albeit in many different ways. It should not be surprisingly that within this resistance movement there has been and is a lot to debate and struggle over, what are the cause, source of these injustices and horrors we oppose, what is the solution(s), - and case in point, who can we unite with, who should we unite with, on what basis, and related to that how to change the course of history - what is the content of the last line of the NION Pledge "Another world is possible and we pledge to make it real." We also find that we have some serious disagreements with people that who we are standing with in this struggle, including on some very crucial questions - and we must find the ways to have principled dialogue and debate over these questions. Someone described the 60's as a time when people were demonstrating all day and debating strategies for change all night. We definitely need more of both right now! NION as a project is united to resisting the injustices being done by our govt in our name... right now the whole world is watching and looking to hear the most powerful message coming from the streets of NYC from the people living in the US will be NO TO BUSH & ALL HE REPRESENTS! NO TO ENDLESS WAR & REPRESSION!
Some of the issues raised in the e-mails are life and death questions for humanity and the kind of world we want to live in. We as people living in the U.S. also have an important responsibility to the people of the world to debate and find the solutions to those questions. Check out the response to the ad that NION published recently in Iraq "U.S. torture and occupation, not in our name" http://www.notinournaine.net/war/baghdad-ad- 7jul04.htm. One of the responses to the ad was challenging us, what are you going to doabout this? And the very important issue raised by Aura in her e-mail, the oppression and exploitation of women! Again, I say that the last couple of e-mails from the Editors of Hustler magazine are particularly vicious, offensive and very dangerous. To discuss this further I think goes beyond the scope of the Not In Our Nameproject but I personally welcome the opportunity to find the forms to have this debate and discussion.
-Jamie Lee, organizer, Los Angeles Not In Our Name Project
NION L.A.'S ROBERT CORSINI CALLS FOR CALM.
To All Concerned:
This particular e-mail debate over LarryFlynt.com's supporting NION's call for NYC protest is clearly unfortunate given what 'we' as progressives are facing. I say 'we' because a progressive political future for our country and world is necesarily dependent on our ability to be inclusive and cultivate dialogue between constituencies and political and social points of view -- all directed toward unseating the heinouos power structures that are dismantling what's left of our democracy and threatening our very existence on this miraculous planet we inhabit. I ask all who have been drawn into this minefield of progressive 'ego' and identity politics to let it go and allow for us all to focus on NYC. I myself am preparing to leave tonight. this is a debate that demands some form of resolution but it cannot happen here and now and with this kind of rancor. I remain hopeful that we can all reflect on this and perhaps re-engage in a more reasoned fashion devoid of any and all personal attacks after -- the RNC.
Good luck and safety to all traveling to NY. Yes we can make a difference. We will
change the course of history -- there is no choice.
HUSTLER'S BRUCE DAVID DECLARES WAR
We at Hustler can accept being rejected by certain elements of the progressive community. Sure, we are disappointed; we would like as much support as possible for the positions we are taking in print, especially since these progressive views have cost us at least some loss of readership. (You are right to point to the survival of our democracy and the survival of the planet itself as the real issues.) But, as Rick Nelson said, "You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself."
We are pleased to have presented the views of Dr. Helen Caldicott, Janine Jackson (FAIR), Greg Palast, Karl Grossman (nukes in space), Howard Lyman (mad cow disease), George Monbiot, Peter Coyote, Carol Picou (Gulf War illness), Craig Unger, Christian Parenti, David Cay Johnston and others to the very people who most need to be reached.
What we will not abide, however, is being called rapists and being accused of fostering assaults on women and children, even by implication. People like Aura Bogado make these accusations so freely because the voices of reason remain silent in the face of such nonsense. Hustler's editors will not remain silent when attacked in this fashion. You can all expect to see a rather forceful series of responses in print, starting with Hustler's February issue. This, of course, will distract us from our attacks on Bush, Cheney, et. al., but then, that's of no concern to Bogado, is it?
Robert, if you ever want us to post something in the future, don't hesitate to ask.